For over 20 years I have been involved in Workplace Health and Safety, be it as a Manager or as a Consultant, and yet it still astounds me that even today small business owners think that they do not have the same accountability to the law as their larger counterparts. It is usually not until there is an incident or workers compensation claim, that employers sit up and take notice.
Under todays stringent Work Health and Safety Laws no matter what size your organization is the law is the same. What I have learnt from small business owners is that often they don’t know where to start and it is in a lot of cases a fear of the unknown. Sadly they fall into the false sense of security by telling themselves ‘if I don’t know about it then I will claim ignorance’. Well unfortunately the judge will not see it that way! And there are plenty of examples to prove it.
So YES the law is complex and seems to go on forever but you need to start somewhere. Developing safe systems of work is a really good start, and by looking to the AS/NZ 4801 Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems Standard, you will be well on your way. The Standard covers off the following;
- Workplace health and safety policy
- Hazard identification, assessment and management
- Incident reporting, recording and investigation
- Consultation and participation
- Emergency planning and procedures
It really isn’t that difficult, just a little bit of time, knowledge and the desire to build a culture of ‘safety first’. Trust me your employees these days expect their safety to be put first and for business owners it is achievable.
Please check out my Work Health and Safety Toolkit, which will give you everything you need to get on track quickly and effectively. I will even go one step further and customise it for your business if you don’t have the time, at a small cost of course.
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